Cloud computing is making the fundamental responsibilities of the CIO even harder to accomplish, and hence the role is more important than ever to the enterprise. Two of those responsibilities are strategic investment in IT and the protection of the business from certain types of risk. To the first point, the commodity pricing of computing and storage, along with the opportunities presented by efficient scale up and scale down, are all factors that the CIO can’t ignore when it comes to making big purchasing and technology adoption decisions. The challenge is that cloud platforms are still relatively immature, and hence there are hidden costs.
To the second point – managing risk – control of sensitive data is the main unsolved problem in cloud computing right now. For example, should the organization be storing strategic plans on a SharePoint site hosted in a data center that they don’t own? Who else has access to that datacenter? What about data subject to Federal regulation? The savvy CIO realizes that he or she is in a unique position to understand the business needs, analyze the on- and off-premise solutions available, and engage with vendors to ensure that the proper balance of risk and cost is met.